A vaccine that provides simultaneous protection against the liver diseases hepatitis A and B has been approved for marketing in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals said last week it expects the vaccine, TwinRix, to become available in this country in a couple of weeks. FDA approval was granted May 11.
Hepatitis A is transmitted by person-to-person contact or the ingestion of contaminated water or food; hepatitis B by sexual activity, contact with infected blood or other bodily fluids or contaminated needles. Places with a high incidence of both diseases include Africa, parts of South America and most of the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia, according to the FDA.